Justin Upton is still a member of the Diamondbacks, Michael Bourn is still a free agent and Kyle Lohse remains unsigned. But the 2013 fates of two prominent players were decided this week, and we’ve got some injury news to talk about, so let’s get to work.
Rafael Soriano signs with Nationals for two yrs/$28 million
Wow. The contract also includes a vesting option for 2015 should Soriano register a combined 120 games finished over the next two years, a very tall order. But even if we just focus on the two years, I don’t quite understand what the Nationals were thinking here. Both Tyler Clippard and Drew Storen have already proven that they can perform at a high level in the ninth inning role, so I’m not sure why the Nats opted to pay top dollar to address an area that was already a strength. But I guess you can never have enough bullpen arms. Washington is obviously trying to win it all in 2013. Good for them.
From a fantasy perspective, this signing makes an absolute mess of my carefully formulated RP rankings from last month, as I had Clippard and Storen in my top-30. Soriano instantly becomes a top-10 closer. There’s no reason to think that he can’t duplicate last season’s stat line. Clippard and Storen are still worth drafting in NL-only formats for their excellent ratios. Value-wise, I’ll give Storen the slight edge just because I consider him to be next in line for saves in the event of a Soriano injury.
Mike Morse traded to Mariners
Seattle wasted little time following their failed attempt to acquire Justin Upton, adding a much-needed bat to the middle of their lineup. Morse’s power is legit, though you’ve got to think that moving to cavernous Safeco Field caps his home run upside. As for his ability to maintain such a high batting average, I’m very skeptical. Over the past two seasons, the 30-year-old has posted K/BB ratios of 97/16 and 126/36, yet he still managed to register a combined .297 average. This simply doesn’t add up. I can’t see myself drafting this guy. Too many question marks relative to his expected price tag.
Corey Hart to have knee surgery – Out 3-4 months
One of the more overlooked yet consistent run producers in recent years, Hart is coming off his third straight season with at least 26 home runs and his second 90-plus run season in the past three years. The good news for the Brew Crew is that they will be getting him back by mid-May, and there’s a decent chance he returns before the end of April. Mat Gamel, who opened 2012 as Milwaukee’s starting first baseman before a torn ACL put a premature end to his season, figures to serve as Hart’s fill-in. Despite a stellar minor league track record, Gamel has yet to accomplish much of anything at the big league level, sporting a .229 batting average with six homers and 29 RBIs across 106 games. The 27-year-old is running out of chances to prove that he’s Major League material. That said, I wouldn't hesitate to take a flier on him in an NL-only league. The risk level is miniscule and hey, maybe he can finally figure things out.
Alex Rodriguez undergoes successful hip surgery – Expected to return in mid-July
Well, that’s nice to hear. What would be nicer is if A-Rod can return to being anything close to the player he once was. The notion that the hip injury was largely to blame for his late-season struggles last year makes a lot of sense, but the bottom line is that he’s played fewer than 140 games in each of the last five seasons. Is he worth considering in the last few rounds of a mixed league draft? Yeah, I guess. But I’m passing. Let him be someone else’s headache.